Fifteen-year-old Vidya dreams of going to college, an unusual proposition for a girl living in British-occupied India during World War II. When tragedy strikes, Vidya and her brother Kitta are forced to move into a traditional household with her grandfather and her extended family, where men live separately upstairs and the women who live below are meant to be married, not educated.The author has lived a multi-faceted life, packing what seems to be at least five lifetimes of action, adventure and travel into one still going strong. Tomorrow, the author will guest blog at Blogpourri, and will talk about how her travels have influenced her substantial body of writing. Until then, here are her interviews at two blogs, Saffron Tree and Reading, Writing, Wondering.
Breaking the rules, Vidya finds refuge in her grandfather’s second-floor library. There she meets Raman, a young man also living in the house. Surprisingly, he treats her like an equal and encourages her intellectual curiosity. But soon it’s clear Raman wants more than just friendship, and when Kitta makes a shocking choice the family cannot condone, Vidya’s life becomes a whirlwind of personal and political complications. Will she be strong enough to survive the storm?
With the lush settings and heady emotions that mark the best Indian literature, Padma Venkatraman’s debut novel is an epic story of love and loss set against a unique moment in history. Readers of all ages will find deep empathy with Vidya as she battles between ideas and emotions while struggling to pursue her dreams.
Climbing the Stairs is published by Penguin ($16.99) and is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers.